The 4 Principles Of Play Way Method Of Teaching Reading Skills

For a child, play is an instinct, a need, a joyful, fun and interesting experience. Most of all, it is a brain-building and a must do activity for them. Play contributes to the building of intellect and knowledge, by connecting the neurons and the neural connections in children. So let’s have a look at the four key principles of play way method of teaching.

In this article:

  1. Introduction to the Play Way method
  2. What is Play Way method of teaching?
  3. The 4 Principles of Play Way method of teaching
  4. The Importance of Environment in Play Way Method of Teaching

Introduction to the Play Way Method

Play Way is a method which promotes the spirit of play in the teaching and learning process. The play way approach of teaching was introduced by Henry Caldwell Cook, a British Educator who is known for his book: The Play Way.

Caldwell contended that doing was a (relatively) better learning method than reading and listening, and that young children and the youth study better through play.

However, the modern roots of understanding as regards the application of play in education clearly originates from Friedrich Frobel, who is considered one of the most influential educational reformers of the 19th century.

Frobel was the one who created and introduced the organized early childhood education method called Kindergarten, which is a German word. Kinder means children and garten means garden. The named his method so, as he believed that children are like plants in a garden, the teachers and facilitators are the gardeners and the school is the garden.

Though Frobel mentions that teachers and facilitators are the gardeners and the school is the garden, it can equally be construed that parents are gardeners too, as they are the first teachers of any child ever born, and home is the garden.

What is Play Way Method of Teaching?

Play way is an activity based method which allows children to actively participate in the learning process, by satisfying their curiosity through natural urge. Learning by doing is the principal factor of this technique.

In other words, the Play Way method insists on a child-centered and experiential learning approach to teaching, where children learn by doing things in the form of activities, and play is the motivating force which drives and encourages them to acquire the knowledge through observation and experience.

The method provides an impetus for children to achieve and be proficient in a skill through trial-and-error process. In the process of play and learning, children can hone their skills and rectify their mistakes, and this paves way for incidental learning.

At the fundamental level, the Play Way based curriculum builds on a child’s innate nature of curiosity, and their enthusiasm and motivation to problem-solve. It is their innate nature that helps them to inquire and satisfy their curiosity by playing and stretching their thinking, therefore elevating themselves to a higher capacity.

Though the method is child-centered, the learning happens through supported learning, where the facilitator (teacher or parent) underpins and reinforces the concepts learned by children.

For instance, when children are playing in the garden, the facilitator can engage them to think on certain concepts by creatively asking them questions around the concept and encouraging them to problem-solve. Children should also be made to engage in concepts like literacy, mathematics and science, etc.

There are a growing number of research studies that play-based learning have found to be effective for overall development of children. It further adds that play-based learning can make children to demonstrate behaviors with problem-solving intent or outlook.

Many development-related learning (developmental learning) has also been linked to the play way approach of teaching, as the facilitator deliberately adopts a passive/indirect role while interacting with the children regarding the concepts to be learnt.

One of the most important aspect of Play Way method of teaching is that it is a flexible method based on the needs, interest and age of the child. The fact that it is a method that also provides for freedom expression of thought and creativity in children can’t be emphasized enough!

Apart from Kindergarten, Play way is an umbrella method which many other common teaching techniques are based on, like Dalton Plan, Heuristic Method and Project Method, among others.

The 4 Principles of Play Way Method of Teaching

The Play Way method is based on the following four principles:

  1. Learning should happen in an environment that is conducive for learning, facilitates experiential learning, and gives children the freedom to think freely and satisfy their curiosity.
  2. Play way method should suit the needs and the interests of children, and should be developmentally appropriate.
  3. Learning should be child-centered.
  4. Enough number of opportunities should be provided for children to express themselves in a positive manner.

The Importance of Environment in Play Way Method of Teaching

In the play way method, the learning environment is crucial in providing independence and opportunities for children practice and get proficient in skills.

The environment should not only be a space which encourage children’s curiosity, it should also help them to explore, manipulate and use various materials for learning through various methods of learning.

The environment should be divided into different spaces, and should provide various materials that aid in developing inquisitiveness. The design and decor of the classroom should provide an atmosphere for children to explore all the elements of literacy, be it reading, writing or speaking.

The 4 Key Environmental Factors in the Play Way Method

The following are 4 key environmental factors that helps children in the Play Way method of teaching:

1. Seating

The seating arrangement in a classroom plays a vital role in facilitating learning. Children should be seated in groups in the classroom, so that they can converse on the problems or projects given by the facilitator.

The environment of the classroom should motive, encourage and emphasise children to have intra-group and inter-group conversations.

The problem-solving exercise can be a group effort, where children can convey their ideas and complement each other’s abilities to solve the given problem.

2. Books

Books and other reading materials are absolutely essential for triggering and enhancing children’s literary experiences. The best thing about books is that it can lay a strong foundation for their reading skills and strengthen their communication skills.

A library or even a book corner with open access to different books. Big books, picture books, cloth books or even digital books should be introduced to enhance the vocabulary of children.

3. Tags & Labels

It is important that the classroom environment has labels, tags, pictures and words; such that it provides ample exposure for children to develop their reading skills, which will in turn develop their vocabulary too.

Tags and labels give visual cues for children about where the learning materials can be found within the environment. Labels and tags enhance the manner in which the environment is organized. Best of all, they help children to self-directed learning.

Common items like clock, rack, sink, bowls, bins, etc. should be labeled, so that they can become anchors for children to remember and respect the organized set up. This will also promote letter and word recognition, understand the print and encourage reading in children.

4. Meeting Space

An exclusive space for children to meet can be arranged in the environment, so that they can meet, talk and discuss about the classes, their thoughts, ideas and even feelings, among others. It is important that the place is open and can be accessed during the working hours rather than after the school hours.


Adopting and facilitating the principles of play way method of teaching takes a lot of commitment and involvement from the facilitators, as it needs a lot of coordination and cooperation to organize things (seating, library, meeting space, etc.) for children to learn well.

As discussed in the beginning, play contributes to the building of intellect by connecting the neurons and the neural connections in children. That’s why adopting the principles becomes crucial and worth the effort.

Disclaimer: The content in this page and across this website are for informational and educational purposes only. In case of any concerns about your child’s growth and development, please contact your professional child healthcare provider.